While we were in Philadelphia we had the pleasure of visiting Independence Hall. Independence Hall’s construction was completed in 1753. It’s where the magic happened, if you will. The great men of our nation gathered, debated, and ultimately signed The Declaration of Independence (1776) and The U.S. Constitution (1787) within the walls of this simple building.
Within the building, the Assembly Room is where the documents were actually signed. Another interesting fact, is that as part of Abraham Lincoln’s grand funeral procession his body was placed in the Assembly Room for two days. At that time over 300,000 people lined up outside of Independence Hall to view his body.
The Courtroom is where the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania met. They would confer over a menagerie of different trials including those about slaves.
This building is so rich with history it’s woven into its very character. In 1775 Benjamin Franklin became the Postmaster General in this building and George Washington was chosen as the Commander and Chief of the Continental Army. In fact, Independence Hall is still home to George Washington’s favorite chair: The Rising Sun Chair. Benjamin Franklin said, “have often looked at that behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now I… know that it is a rising…sun.”
This quote gives humanistic insight into the lives of our forefathers. We often hold them up on a pedestal, but this quote tells me that they had no idea what they were doing. They couldn’t predict the future–they were simply taking a chance and trying to forge a better tomorrow. I for one am glad that they did.
Within the walls of the Assembly Room the design of the American Flag was also agreed upon in 1777. The creaky oak floorboards were scuffed by the boots of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington just to name a few.
While this building is just that, a building, I found the essence of what it stands for to be incredibly awesome. America was formed inside these small rooms. Our founding fathers boarded up the windows and locked the doors in the dead of summer to debate and form our nation. Through their sweat, time, and effort America was born and given her independence. The Liberty Bell rang from the steeple in celebration. What a beautiful thing.
While the building itself isn’t overly impressive or full of grand architecture, I think that everyone should visit this place–it is huge part of America’s history. And, it’s absolutely free. You do have to get a ticket though because only a certain number of people can go in at a time. To make a reservation just go across the street to the Independence Visitor Center and select a time. It’s so easy and so worth it. If you do get the opportunity to visit Independence Hall be sure to go next door and take a look through the museum–the actual documents are on display but unfortunately it was too dark to get a decent photo.